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Expert homesteader shares cheap hack to limit weeds and improve soil in your garden: 'Don't have to water all year long'

"We're taking a year's worth of our cardboard recycling and putting it in our garden pathways."

"We're taking a year's worth of our cardboard recycling and putting it in our garden pathways."

Photo Credit: TikTok

Gardening is an inexpensive and eco-friendly way to grow your own fruits and veggies, but it does take an investment of time and water. However, one savvy TikToker has a way to cut back on both β€” and all you need is cardboard and mulch.

The scoop

Homesteading TikToker Anne (@anneofalltrades) walked viewers through the method in a video. "We're taking a year's worth of our cardboard recycling and putting it in our garden pathways so we don't have to water all year long," she explained.

@anneofalltrades STOP weeding and watering your garden! This is a ONE DAY project that will save you MANY DAYS of headaches. #garden #gardening #springgarden #planting #gardentips #gardenproject ♬ original sound - Anne πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ«πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŒΎπŸ‘·πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ› πŸΏ

First, Anne created slightly raised garden beds with lower pathways in between. Then she laid out the cardboard in an even layer along the paths. "Spraying the cardboard with water as we go makes it a whole lot easier to lay out in the pathways," Anne said. "We add four to six inches of mulch onto our cardboard piles, bringing the garden beds almost level with the pathway."

The end result was a garden full of tidy, mulch-lined paths around and between rows of thriving plants.

How it's helping

The double barrier of cardboard and mulch did several things to improve the growing environment. "Cardboard helps suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil," Anne explained. "It also happens to attract little red wiggler worms, which are a gardener's best friend."

Mulch doesn't last forever, but even that was a hidden benefit. "The pathways will break down over the next year, and our soil next year will be even better than it is this year," Anne said.

πŸ—£οΈ What confuses you most about recycling protocol?

πŸ”˜ Which materials I can recycle πŸ“¦

πŸ”˜ How clean the material needs to be 🧼

πŸ”˜ What the plastic numbers mean ♻️

πŸ”˜ Nothing at all πŸ˜‡

πŸ—³οΈ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

All this can help make your garden more fruitful. Growing and eating your own produce is great for your physical health since you exercise more and add fiber to your diet; plus, it improves your mood.

Finally, this was a good move for the environment. The more produce you grow, the less you rely on polluting shipping methods that feature trucks to bring your fruits and veggies to your local store. You're also recycling cardboard β€” always a plus for the environment.

What people are saying

Some commenters were uncertain about the hack. "And are there no worries about additives in the cardboard that could leach into the ground? Genuinely asking," one user said.

"Not if you're picky about cardboard," Anne replied. "Lots of cardboard is made with starch-based biodegradable glue."

Other users asked for tips. "Do you dig up the pathway every year? And use it to build up the beds? Looks [like] very chunky soil?" another commenter asked.

"Yes," Anne said. "The broken-down material gets raked into beds, the big stuff stays in the pathway, and more mulch gets added."

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